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What is RobinHood?

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Robinhood burst onto the scene in 2013, shaking up how everyday folks, particularly millennials and first-timers, approach the stock market. This app is a hit for its easy-to-navigate interface and its standout feature: you don’t pay a dime in commission fees. In this piece, we’re going to walk through what Robinhood offers, the perks and pitfalls of using it, and how it’s changing the game in investment.

The Rise of Robinhood

Robinhood, envisioned and created by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, was built on a powerful idea: to democratize finance and make investing accessible for everyone, regardless of their financial background. This vision resonated widely, and as a result, the app saw rapid growth, drawing in millions of users in just a few short years. A pivotal aspect of its appeal is the commission-free trading model, which empowers users to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies without the burden of fees, breaking down traditional barriers in the world of investing.

Features and Benefits

Robinhood has become a go-to platform for investors, thanks to its array of features and benefits that cater to both novice and experienced traders. Here’s a look at what makes Robinhood stand out:

  1. Commission-Free Trading: The hallmark of Robinhood is its zero-commission model. This feature is particularly attractive for those looking to invest smaller amounts of money, as it allows them to buy and sell stocks without worrying about extra fees.
  2. User-Friendly Interface: The app is celebrated for its straightforward and intuitive design. This ease of use enables investors to smoothly navigate the app, execute trades, and keep an eye on their portfolio, all contributing to a hassle-free investing experience.
  3. Fractional Shares: Introduced in 2019, this feature lets investors purchase portions of a share, rather than needing to buy an entire share. It’s especially useful for those interested in high-value stocks like Amazon or Google, as it makes these investments more accessible to those with limited capital.
  4. Education and Research Tools: Robinhood doesn’t just facilitate trading; it also provides resources to educate its users. The app includes market data, news articles, and analyst ratings, all aimed at helping investors make well-informed decisions. This commitment to education supports users in navigating their investment journey with greater confidence and knowledge.

Drawbacks and Controversies

While Robinhood’s rise in the investment world has been notable, it hasn’t been without its share of challenges and criticisms:

  1. Limited Investment Options: One of the key criticisms leveled against Robinhood is its relatively narrow selection of investment choices. Unlike more traditional brokerage firms, Robinhood focuses mainly on stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. This limited range can be a drawback for advanced investors who are looking for access to a broader spectrum of assets, such as mutual funds, bonds, or international stocks.
  2. Technical Issues and Outages: Robinhood has experienced technical difficulties and service interruptions, which have been a source of frustration for its users. These technical glitches have sometimes led to missed trading opportunities, causing not only inconvenience but also a loss of trust among some of its user base.
  3. Game-Like Interface Leading to Risky Behavior: Critics have also pointed out that Robinhood’s interface, characterized by its easy-to-use design, confetti animations, and frequent push notifications, may gamify the process of investing. This approach is argued to potentially encourage risky and impulsive trading behaviors, especially among less experienced investors who might not fully grasp the risks involved. This aspect of Robinhood’s design has been a topic of debate regarding the responsibilities of investment platforms in promoting financial literacy and responsible trading practices.

The Impact of Robinhood

Robinhood’s emergence and growth have indeed had a profound impact on the investment world:

  1. Increased Accessibility for Investors: Robinhood’s most notable contribution is how it has opened up the world of investing to a broader audience. By scrapping trading fees and offering an intuitive, user-friendly platform, it has made investing more approachable, especially for younger or less experienced investors. This has brought a new wave of participants into the market, who might have been previously discouraged by the cost and complexity typically associated with investing.
  2. Contribution to Market Volatility: A significant portion of Robinhood’s user base is made up of retail investors, many of whom are relatively new to investing. The platform’s ease of use, combined with social features like trade sharing, has led to increased speculative trading and activity. This behavior, often driven by trends and social media influence, can contribute to heightened market volatility. The role of retail investors in market dynamics, especially in the context of platforms like Robinhood, has become an area of increased scrutiny and discussion.
  3. Disrupting the Industry: Robinhood’s success and popularity have sent ripples through the traditional brokerage industry. Its model of zero-commission trading has pressured established brokerage firms to adapt and innovate. Many of these firms have now also eliminated trading fees, a move that can be seen as a direct response to the competitive challenge posed by Robinhood. This shift marks a significant change in the brokerage industry, altering how these firms operate and compete for customers.


Robinhood’s emergence has indeed been a game-changer in the investment industry. Its hallmark feature of commission-free trading, combined with a straightforward, user-friendly interface, has broken down traditional barriers to investing. This approach has opened the doors to a more diverse group of investors, particularly attracting those who might have previously found the world of stocks and trading daunting due to cost or complexity.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that while Robinhood has democratized access to investing, it is not without its shortcomings and controversies. The platform’s limited range of investment options, occasional technical issues, and concerns about its gamified interface have all sparked debate and criticism.

For users of Robinhood, as with any investment platform, a key piece of advice is to stay informed and understand the risks involved. Making educated investment decisions is crucial, particularly in a landscape that is increasingly accessible yet complex.

In a broader sense, Robinhood’s impact extends beyond its own platform. It has set a new standard in the financial services sector, challenging traditional models and encouraging innovation among other fintech companies. This disruption has catalyzed a shift in how financial services are approached, emphasizing accessibility, user experience, and technological integration. Robinhood’s role in reshaping investment practices underscores the evolving nature of the fintech industry and its influence on the financial behaviors of individuals and the market at large.